It seems that for some strange reason at this time of the year there are lots of magazine and newspaper article about the best/hottest/coolest/funnest/top toys of the year as chosen by parents/marketers/kids/families/magazine editors/toy stores, etc. It is possible that this has something to do with the Christmas toy buying season or maybe it is because the automotive industry controls the toy industry and they like to roll out the new models at the same time…
Ultimately all of these guides are being written to help parents and others buy toys that kids will like. So how do we know which of these guides to trust? How do we decide? I have a bias and suggest that the best one is coming out this week.
I am a member of the board of the Canadian Toy Testing Council (http://toy-testing.org). Our mission is to encourage the design, manufacture and distribution of toys and books sensitive to children’s needs, through independent evaluation. Every year we recruit hundreds of families in the National Capital Region to serve as toy testing families. We contact toy manufacturers of all sizes and we look for toys that are new to the Canadian market. We are especially interested in innovative toys. We invite manufacturers to send us toys that meet these criteria for testing. Then the toys are distributed to our testing families for six to eight weeks.
Our objective is to test the toys in the environment that they will be used. Some will be played with every day, some will be ignored after the first use. The kids are the evaluators and we want you to know how the toy was received, it’s play value, age-appropriateness, durability, etc. Kids who are old enough do the evaluations, parents write the reports for kids who can’t do it themselves. Here is an article that appeared in the Ottawa Citizen this weekend about some of our testers.
We are not paid to evaluate certain toys and we don’t grant awards based on donations. The Council is a Canadian charity and we are independent of any manufacturer groups or marketing associations.
This week (Tuesday) we will be releasing the Toy Report with recommendations and award winning toys for all age groups. If you are in the Ottawa area we will also be selling the toys that we tested this year at discounted rates. We will also have new, unused copies of the award winning toys.
The sale will be taking place on two days this year. Tuesday November 5th from 1-3 and 5-8 and Saturday November 9th from 10:30 – 3. The sale will take place at the Centurion Conference and Event Centre at 170 Colonade Road S. in Ottawa. All proceeds help to fund our toy testing work.
The report will be posted on www.Toy-testing.org on Tuesday and you can find out about the Best Bets and Children’s Choice Award winners by following the council on Twitter @CDNToyTesting.
If you are based in the Ottawa area and interested in becoming a toy testing family, let me know and I’ll give you the details.